In a joint project focusing on incorporating 3D printing technologies into the production of plastic injection molds, Prodways Technologies, Openlab by Schneider Electric and the Platinium 3D platform are teaming up to accelerate the development cycle of industrial products.
One of the major challenges for the Industry of the Future will undoubtedly be to release new products onto the market faster in order to stay competitive. At the same time, international standards and certification requirements burden electricity manufacturers with long certification processes for their components, which must be produced using final material prototypes. In order to reduce time to market, the R&D departments of electrical component manufacturers such as Schneider Electric, a global leader, need to produce their prototypes fast in order to obtain certification and perform functional tests with the final material. Consequently, the challenge is to be able to break free of traditional tooling - a long, expensive process - by creating the prototype molds through 3D printing and to then inject final material parts and speed up the iterations needed to get certified before producing the final production mold.
With nearly 400 product launches per year and revenue in excess of €24 billion in 2017, Schneider Electric has placed strategic importance on technological innovation focused on improving time to market. To achieve this, Schneider Electric utilizes its Openlab, located in downtown Grenoble, to support development projects for new offers.
To quote Frédérick Choupin of Schneider Electric: "Our goal is to use cutting-edge technologies to shorten the product development cycle. With 3D printing and agile project management, we're in a position to overcome the traditional obstacles of long-established processes and market an innovative product 60% faster."
With this in mind, Openlab by Schneider Electric has been working with Prodways Technologies and the Platinium 3D technology platform for over a year to incorporate MOVINGLight® technology into the development cycle of its electrical components in order to print plastic injection molds in 3D. Ultimately, nearly 25 tooling molds were printed in 3D, and as a result, hundreds of parts could be injected on an injection molding machine under manufacturing conditions in order to create parts that matched the final shape and complied with the certification prerequisites with the correct polymer grade.
Sébastien Guenet, Deputy Executive Officer of UIMM Champagne-Ardenne (Champagne-Ardenne Union of Metallurgies Industries), Platinium 3D, said, "Typically, producing an aluminum mold for tooling prototypes of parts that need to be certified as final material has a lead time that can range from several weeks to two months, and that drastically slows down the development cycle. With 3D printing, we can produce tooling prototypes in a few hours, modify them immediately based on the needs of the functional tests and then inject final material parts. These final material parts are sent directly for certification while the aluminum mold is still being produced. Thanks to this process, we considerably speed up the new-product development cycle since the final material parts are already certified even before the aluminum production mold is finalized."
Thanks to Prodways' 3D printing materials that boast high mechanical and heat resistance, Openlab by Schneider Electric and Platinium 3D have injected charged and nonflammable polyamide parts. Glass-charged polyamide is one of the most commonly used materials for technical components where heat resistance is mandatory; it is standard for many industries and an indispensable prerequisite for obtaining certifications.
3D printing, which is essential for developing industrial products, is therefore poised to play a key role in the growth of the businesses of the future. Through this partnership, Prodways Technologies, Openlab by Schneider Electric and Platinium 3D are reaffirming their central role as trailblazers paving the way to innovation in French industry.
About Openlab by Schneider Electric
Openlab is a manufacturing accelerator for innovative solutions created by Schneider Electric and start-ups in the Grenoble ecosystem, which is the French region with the second-highest concentration of start-up incubators and accelerators after the Paris region. Openlab boasts industrial expertise and know-how, an engineering and design department, a production platform equipped with modern, leading-edge facilities, and a network of qualified high-tech partners. Our business epitomizes commitment as it supports and bolsters the development of creative solutions by Schneider Electric with the ultimate goal of satisfying customers, in a spirit of optimizing time to market.
For further information: www.schneider-electric.fr/fr/
About Platinium 3D
PLATINIUM 3D is a technological, scientific and training platform dedicated to using additive manufacturing to create metal parts. It is the brainchild of a partnership between UIMM Champagne-Ardenne (Champagne-Ardenne Union of Metallurgies Industries), Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne, the Campus des Métiers et Qualification "Procédés et Matériaux Innovants" (Innovative Processes and Materials Professions and Qualifications Campus), the Pôle Formation UIMM de Champagne-Ardenne (Champagne-Ardenne Union of Metallurgies Industries Training Center) and the CRITT MDTS (Materials, Plating and Surface Finishing Regional Innovation and Technology Transfer Center). This tool of excellence, which is accessible to all stakeholders (businesses, public and private laboratories, technical centers, training organizations, etc.) and has substantial research and development resources, supports its customers in industrializing additive manufacturing processes, particularly in the major areas of tooling, wearing parts and larger components.
For further information: http://www.platinium3d.com/fr
About Prodways Group
PRODWAYS GROUP is a specialist in industrial and professional 3D printing with a unique positioning as an integrated European player. The group has developed right across the 3D printing value chain (machines, materials, parts & services and software) with a high value added technological industrial solution. PRODWAYS GROUP offers a wide range of 3D printing systems and premium composite, hybrid and powder materials (SYSTEMS division). The company also manufactures and markets parts on demand, prototypes and small production run 3D printed items in plastic and metal (PRODUCTS division). The Group targets a significant number of sectors, from aeronautics to healthcare.
In 2017, the company generated revenue of €34.8 million, including 38% outside of France. Building on revolutionary and proprietary technology, MOVINGLight®, PRODWAYS GROUP today has global visibility in the industrial 3D printing sector and with leading customers.
PRODWAYS GROUP is a Groupe Gorgé company.
For further information: www.prodways-group.com
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